Written by Bek Phillips
The first time I made the decision to go all the way with my future husband was perfect. He grilled steak outside on a patio with the sun setting in the background. And with the flawless romantic flair of someone ten years my senior, he locked me outside just long enough to pour the wine and light the candles.
But now, three years later, a lot has changed. My school schedule keeps me away from home and leaves me exhausted come nine. My stepdaughter is in high school and requires more attention and oversight than ever before. And my husband now works out of the union hall, meaning any week he could be in a different city.
So how do you keep the romance alive? For those of you in long-term relationships, it is not easy to admit that sex has lost its flair. It is not easy to accept that you would rather put on your fuzzy pajama pants, which have no sex appeal at all, and curl up with a book rather than go down on each other.
About a year ago, my husband and I reached that point, and in the midst of our lazy lovin’, we decided that something had to change.
But change does not come easy. By then we had our favorite positions, our favorite place, our favorite music, and yes – a schedule. In search of inspiration, however, all we had to do was look out the front door. A large hill covered in trees sat across the street luring us in under the full moon.
Coming home from the bar and with quite a few drinks in us, I pulled him towards the hill, leading with a few promising kisses. Later, lying in a pile of clothes, both of us gasping for breath and laughing, I snuggled closer breathing in the foresty smell and his musky scent while fighting back the chill. We lit our cigarettes and deemed our new adventure a success. Until the next morning.
He was covered in poison oak.
Our search for new passion continued on a rare morning where both of us were alone. Lily was at school, our roommates out, but he was playing videogames. So after some desperate texts to a sister for ideas, I pulled out the fishnet tights, the slutty high heels, and the red and black lingerie that I only used once. Excited, I straightened my hair and put on makeup, and topped it all off with a large fuzzy bright blue robe as a disguise.
Making my way to the living room, I posed, leaning in what I hoped was a seductive manner against the large TV. He looked up, smiled, and went back to playing games. I dropped the robe, and walked towards him, and the controller dropped to the floor.
Passion ignited, all was going well – until the roommate’s truck pulled up in the driveway. In a panic I crawled across the room, barely having time to take off the heels and put on the robe before he walked in. The boys talked for a while and by the time we were alone again, the moment was deemed a flop.
We tried the shower. We tried the yard. In fact, everywhere we went we were looking for ideas.
While writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, I had a story to do in Santa Rosa… and no car. So, with some last minute inspiration, my husband and I packed our overnight bags, booked a hotel room, and gathered piles of change and wrinkly dollar bills we had been stashing to ensure that alcohol would be available.
But it was so hot. It turned out that the room we booked online was less than what was advertised. The air conditioner was not working, the deck we were promised for the extra twenty dollars was nonexistent, and the large king size bed was actually two twin beds separated by a side table.
Layered in grime, we took cold shower… and napped. Things did turn out for the better though. After the interview was finished, we hit the town, went to a brewery, and eventually began stumbling back home. To our delight, the air was nice and cool, and there was a line of fancy plastic sheds outside of some kind of store. We looked at each other, and we both knew we were thinking the same thing. We jiggled each door till we found a rather small one that was open.
Granted we cannot go out and find sheds, hills, and other outdoorsy locations to spice things up at any time, and sometimes… well, sometimes Netflix, a book, or video games are really what we want to do to with the limited time we have together each day.
We are now closing in on the three-and-a-half year mark in our relationship, and the school year is now in full session. Old habits are coming back, and it is all too easy to fall into that rut where we stay in our own routines. But, as this article is more than just the sexual misadventures of Bek and Nick, we’ve learned somethings.
We have learned that sometimes, it is just making time for each other. On the one day we have off, putting on Pandora, a cute outfit and setting the mood can be all the romance you need. We have learned that spontaneity and intimacy are two different things that can collide and meld into the right situation. We learned that it is effort that keeps romance alive.
The other day we were running errands, borderline boring household chores really, when Nick saw a nice restaurant that had just opened in the neighborhood. It was only 2 p.m., and it was completely empty. He grabbed my hand and pulled me in, before choosing a small couples’ table in the middle of the room. He ordered a very nice, very expensive bottle of wine. On the way home he bought me flowers. No misadventures here, I was simply loved… and got lucky.
So how do you keep romance alive? With surprises? Flexibility? Or some spontaneous adventures? Nick and I know: It’s balance. Each night doesn’t have to end in a home run. Yet, it doesn’t have to be only one night a week, either.